Allen Hurns has been one of the NFL’s most pleasant surprises. As one of the Jacksonville Jaguars top playmaking options, Hurns has become a favorite of quarterback, Blake Bortles. The two have displayed immense chemistry over the course of the 2015-16 NFL season. It’s a relationship that seems destined to last for quite some time.
But that wasn’t always the original idea amongst the Jaguars front office. Hurns wasn’t always considered a part of Jacksonville’s rebuilding plans.
The 2014 NFL Draft was heralded as the best wide receiver class in history. Players including Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans, Brandin Cooks, and Odell Beckham Jr, heard their names called during the 1st round. Even Hurns current Jacksonville Jaguars teammate, Allen Robinson, was selected with the 61st pick of the draft. But Hurns never got the chance to bask in the draft’s glory.
Despite setting the Miami Hurricanes single season receiving record, Hurns didn’t hear his name called at any point during the seven rounds. As a result, he was free to sign with any team he desired. He opted to join the Jacksonville Jaguars, a decision that has paid dividends for both parties.
Being an undrafted free agent means your spot on the roster is far from guaranteed. Hurns had to fight for reps on the Jaguars roster, one that featured three offensive difference makers from the 2014 draft.
You had the potential savior at QB in Bortles, and two stud wide receivers with the aforementioned Robinson and USC standout Marquise Lee.
The long odds did little to deter Hurns from his ultimate goal of playing in the NFL. And his hard work ultimately paid off as he made the teams roster out of training camp.
Hurns’ impact on the Jaguars was felt almost instantaneously. It was during week 1 of the 2014 NFL season when Hurns broke through, and by doing so had 31 teams baffled about how they let him slip through the cracks.
He caught four passes totaling 110 yards, and became the only player in NFL history to score touchdowns on his first two receptions.
Hurns would go on to finish his rookie season with 677 yards on 51 receptions. And While he only managed to record two 100+ yard receiving games in 2014, the former University of Miami product proved that he could be a viable option for the improving Jaguars passing attack.
The 2015 season has seen Hurns turn himself into a legitimate NFL wide receiver, recording two 116-yard receiving games in the seasons first five weeks.
Offensive coordinator, Greg Olson, sees the growth and potential of Hurns, as he stated to a local Jacksonville news outlet.
“For a second-year player, a true pro. He’s extremely intelligent, can play all three positions. You can count on him that way as a coach. He’s an excellent route runner. The quarterbacks certainly trust him and he belongs out there. We like him. He’s a dependable player and we’re counting in him to be a player here for a long time.’’
Bortles is blossoming into a franchise NFL QB, and he owes a lot of his progression to Hurns. Jacksonville is a long way from competitive football, but for the first time in almost a decade they have a formidable core to build around.